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Switching to a Mirrorless


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#1 UnderDaSea

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 02:39 AM

Hey everyone, I have been wanting to upgrade from my D90 for a while and finally decided to bite the bullet after getting a little work bonus for thanksgiving. I would like to get a mirrorless camera so I can have a more dedicated underwater setup, plus I am sick and tired of travelling with my giant camera bag. I will admit though, that I am a complete beginner when it comes to Mirrorless cameras. I didn't even know they were an option until I read a post about them like 6 months ago! It seems that there are pretty much two main options when it comes ML cameras, Sony or "Micro Four Thirds" and I am pretty lost at that point. 

 

I have about $2000 to spend on everything right now if I stretch my budget as much as possible, including lenses, housing and filters. I am just looking for a little advice on what I should look at; the Sony A7 II seems really good but that could just because it is a high range camera so that might not be the best starting point or maybe it is. Any tips or recommendations would be greatly appreciated, thanks all :)



#2 bmorescuba

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 05:20 AM

This will probably be a long conversation, but I think a couple initial questions might help you get better advice.

 

Are you set on buying new gear or is used OK?

Are you interested in stills, video, 50/50?

Macro, Wide-Angle, 50/50?

Do you have a system preference, like Ikelite or Nauticam?

Do you have any gear you think you can re-use, like strobes, arms, trays, etc?

 

The list on the A7 II is $1600 and the cheapest housing (Ikelite) lists for $1500. Other housings are more in the $2500 range. So if 2k is a strict limit, then I'd say the A7 II is out. Even is used is OK and you figure 50% price reduction, you're still looking at close to 2k with no ports or lenses.

 

If I was getting into mirrorless right now with a 2k budget for everything, I would look at the slightly older Olympus/Panasonic models, like the EM1, EM5, GH4. I've seen some really good deals on used equipment of this vintage - complete setups for about $1500. These models all have 16.1MP sensors, so it's still a step up from the D90, They also generally have 1080p video of varying capabilities. You can save money with an Olympus housing vs. other brands, but that does limit you somewhat. If you'd prefer to stay with Sony, then possibly something in the used A6300 range or even the NEX-7. 

 

Honestly it will be impossible to come in under 2k for a complete new setup (camera, housing, lenses, ports, strobes, trays/arms) but I do think it might be possible if you carefully shop the used markets. Wetpixel, SB, FB, Ebay all have used u/w camera gear. There are a lot of people upgrading in mirrorless now, since fancy new models have been introduced (EM1MKII, GH5, A7RII, etc.)

 

If you do end up in the Olympus/Panasonic Micro 4/3's realm, there are a couple lenses I can heartily recommend - Olympus 60mm 2.8 Macro and the Panasonic 8mm 3.5 Fisheye. These can be had on the used market pretty reasonably and can be housed for less money than some alternatives. There are fanicer options, but not for the budget conscious.


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#3 Wapiti

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 06:41 AM

There's a good deal from Olympus right now where you can get the E-M5 mk II, housing, port, and kit zoom for 1600 (I think). Get yourself a used 60mm macro and a strobe and you're off to a great start. That said, if you're ok with used try to snag an E-M1 package as it has a feature set a little better suited to underwater.

#4 JMartel

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 08:28 AM

Your $2k budget won't get you a Sony setup unless you find a good deal used. The $1600 for the EM5mkII is about as good as a deal as you will find new. That leaves you $400 to work with. If you already have strobes, then I'd spend $300 on a 60mm macro or a 9-18mm wide angle depending on what you like to shoot. If not, then that $400 should go to getting you at least one strobe and the arms. You can potentially find a used deal on an EM1 or EM5mkII on here that would give you more budget to work with.

 

I shoot with a EM5mkII right now (though in a Nauticam housing). The 60mm is a fantastic lens if you like macro.


Edited by JMartel, 10 October 2017 - 08:28 AM.


#5 Barmaglot

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:33 AM

If you're set on full frame mirrorless, Sony is the only company producing this right now, with the A7 and A9 series. You can kinda sorta squeeze a used A7 II and a Meikon housing into $2k, but you'll be limited to 40m depth and only three port options (two flat and one dome).

 

I ended up spending a bit over $2k on a Sony A6300, SeaFrogs (Meikon) housing, tray, arms, and two Archon LED lights.



#6 UnderDaSea

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:14 AM

I have no problem with buying used, I figured that I might have to anyways. I prefer taking stills, and rarely take videos and I really like macro shots. No system preference and all of my accessories are Nikon so I don't really know if they will be compatible. It seems that for my budget I may as well not even look into Sony. Looking up the E-M1 at I like what I see plus there are some used sets for sale around me that might just fit my budget.



#7 Barmaglot

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 07:25 AM

If you buy used and focus on macro, a used Sony A7 II body can be found for ~$900 or a bit less, a 90mm F/2.8 macro lens is another $700 or so, a Meikon housing is $140 on Aliexpress, and the KitDive port for this lens is $99 direct from Meikon - total $1840 for camera, lens and housing, give or take a hundred or two depending on what deals you find. Any lights, strobe or LED, will take you over the budget limit though.



#8 rgilkes

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:51 AM

I would like to get a mirrorless camera so I can have a more dedicated underwater setup, plus I am sick and tired of travelling with my giant camera bag.

 

 

I have an a7rii, 16-35 and 8" dome and I don't know that an a7 setup will be that much smaller than your d90 setup. May want to look at an a6000 series or one of the smaller Olympus's mentioned.



#9 UnderDaSea

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:17 PM

If you buy used and focus on macro, a used Sony A7 II body can be found for ~$900 or a bit less, a 90mm F/2.8 macro lens is another $700 or so, a Meikon housing is $140 on Aliexpress, and the KitDive port for this lens is $99 direct from Meikon - total $1840 for camera, lens and housing, give or take a hundred or two depending on what deals you find. Any lights, strobe or LED, will take you over the budget limit though.

Thanks for the breakdown. I don't mind too much about getting lights for it yet; just want to get the camera first so I can mess around with it. Going to take a look online for the A7 II body and see what I find. Thanks. 



#10 UnderDaSea

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 08:53 PM

Hey everyone, I have been wanting to upgrade from my D90 for a while and finally decided to bite the bullet after getting a little work bonus for thanksgiving. I would like to get a mirrorless camera so I can have a more dedicated underwater setup, plus I am sick and tired of travelling with my giant camera bag. I will admit though, that I am a complete beginner when it comes to Mirrorless cameras. I didn't even know they were an option until I read a post about them like 6 months ago! It seems that there are pretty much two main options when it comes ML cameras, Sony or "Micro Four Thirds" and I am pretty lost at that point. 

 

I have about $2000 to spend on everything right now if I stretch my budget as much as possible, including lenses, housing and filters. I am just looking for a little advice on what I should look at; the Sony A7 II seems really good but that could just because it is a high range camera so that might not be the best starting point or maybe it is. Any tips or recommendations would be greatly appreciated, thanks all :)

 

I have finally got me camera :) After looking online all over I found someone who was selling a Sony A7 II body for only $800 so a snapped that up right quick. Now I am looking at the Meikon housing on AliExpress and a Macro lens that I have had my eyes on for a week. Thanks for all the advice everyone, this will be the first place I post my new pics :)